This week I got one of those chances that dont come around very often in a lifetime. I got to play with my favorite toys (camera gear) and use them to help make pictures of an incredible car, Scott Bourne’s 2012 Jaguar XKR convertible. This is only part of the story, thanks to Scott, I got a chance to do it at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. You are probably thinking a lot of people have been at that track and you are right, however on this day I was one of two people that had full unrestricted access to the entire track. It was ours. And not just the road courses or drag strip that are often open to amateur racers. I am not talking about walking around in the stands. I am talking about driving on the Super Oval. Only a handful of people get to do that. And while my Ford Focus was no match for Scott’s Jag it was fun.
Scott called me last week to ask if I wanted to be a part of a photo shoot at the speedway. The deal was I had to be there art 6am sharp, ready to work. I live almost an hour away so this is kind of a big deal, but when Scott asked me, I didn’t hesitate. I was there early, the sky was incredible, it had rained for the previous three days and we almost had to cancel, but on this day, it was perfect. The track was dripping in excitement, in my head I could see all of the places that are jammed packed with world famous people on race day. The driver’s paddock, pit row, the infield, the world famous turn 4, last but not least the place that all the magic happens, the finish line, best of all, I was there. Right there.
There is so much to this story, I could write pages and pages of how special this place is, but I am already at word 216 of a 100 words I was given to talk about this shoot. Sorry Scott, I am going to run a little long on this one.
There I was at an incredible place, with an incredible car, (you should hear it when it down shifts) and some incredible gear. Lets not forget and the day was perfect for photography, I know I already said that, but it really was a perfect day.
We started off doing some static shots with as the sun was peaking in and out of the clouds. I assisted Scott as we made pictures at the finish line, pit row, the drivers paddock and turn four. The environment was a bit overwhelming. It was hard to stay focused since this place draws you in to the spectacle of it all. This was my first time at a super speedway. I cant imagine the excitement on race day, because I was already on overload and the best was yet to come.
Now it came time for Scott to suit up and put this beautiful car through it’s paces. I knew the XKR is fast but I had no idea it had that kind of power. I was mainly there to assist Scott for what ever heed needed during the shoot. I stood there wanting to throw rocks at my 5D MKIII as I saw Scott using his new 1DX. I dont know if it was hearing that sweet shutter rip off a 12 frame bracket in less than a second, or the incredible lines that new camera body. Heck I think it was both. It wasn’t until he handed the 1DX to me, that I knew it was really show time. I started off with a few simple shots of Scott suiting up, then we headed off to the track where Scott got to go fast and I got to shoot his fast camera.
The first lap was very hard for me to track the car when he hit the finish line. By laps two and three I think I was nailing the shots. I am a portrait and lighting guy, the fastest thing I shoot is sitting still. It is a testament of the 1DX that a person with very little experience can pick it up and make some keepers. I did run into a problem however, I tried to get cute with a camera I have never used. I tried to do some panning shots, I choose 1/30th of a second as a shutter speed and pan a car that is moving at over 150 mph only a short distance away. I see those shots as a failure because I missed two passes worth of keepers. However I learned from it. This is a lesson for all of us; make mistakes and learn from them. If everything in life was perfect and you never make any mistakes you are not learning, you are not pushing yourself hard enough. I took a shot and I blew it, I did make one panning keeper, but remember I was trying something completely new with no past experience, on a camera I have never used before. One last thing – I only attempted the panning images after I had already got the shots during the first two laps.
I haven’t seen any of the final images I took with the 1DX. I briefly spoke to Scott about them and learned I blew the panning shots however, I did make some BTS shots with my camera and I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I did making them. I want to thank Scott for an incredible day, a day that I won’t forget any time soon.
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